Document Type

Capstone Project

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (B.S.)


Science & Environmental Policy


he green crab, Carcinus maenas, is native to the Atlantic coast of Europe, and has found its way to the coasts of Australia, South Africa, and the east and west coasts of North America, presumably in the ballast water of international ships. This particular crab is a voracious predator and can tolerate a wide range of environmental conditions, making it a very successful invader. The green crab appeared on the west coast of North America about 10 years ago, and made its way to the Elkhorn Slough in 1994. The ecological effects of green crabs are well known in Bodega Bay, but little is known about the green crab population in Elkhorn Slough. In this study we have attempted to characterize the population of the green crab in Elkhorn Slough through several methods, which include: 1) intertidal and subtidal trapping using baited minnow traps at various sites, 2) analysis of preferred bait, and 3) creating a characterization of the native crab community. After intensive trapping efforts, only five individual C. maenas were found, all at in the Kirby Park area. We speculate that only a few individuals were found primarily because of difficulty of larval recruitment and predators of adult green crabs unique to the Elkhorn Slough. This study will provide a baseline for future changes in the green crab and native crab populations as the invasion proceeds.


Capstone Project (B.S.) Earth Systems Science & Policy Institute